NEWS

Defense dogma revision

Greece said yesterday that it was adapting its defense strategy to tackle international terrorism and other such threats and was setting up a military unit to deal with biological and chemical attacks, which will also play a role in the Athens 2004 Olympics security planning. The government also announced that it was donating a million dollars for the relief of Afghan refugees and would undertake the care of 10,000 Afghans in an Iranian refugee tent city for at least the next five months. Also yesterday, what was billed as an anti-war rally led by the Communist Party and the Genoa 2001 anti-globalization movement, turned into a purely anti-American march to Parliament and then the US Embassy. Some fighting broke out between Communist Party members and masked youths carrying sticks who tried to barge in on the march. No injuries or arrests were reported. The main body of the march consisted of about 5,000 people, who carried red banners and shouted, Americans, killers and similar slogans. About 1,500 of them, mostly the anti-globalization section, marched to the US Embassy before dispersing peacefully. Defense Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos presented the Defense Strategy Reform yesterday, concerning the reorganization, development and upgrading of the armed forces. He stressed the need for international terrorism to be dealt with by as broad a coalition as possible. But he made it clear that so far there has been no discussion, at any level, of an initiative or possible move by the United States which might call for assistance from other countries. Tsochadzopoulos said that the NATO countries had put Article 5 of the alliance charter into effect, in which an attack on one is seen as an attack on all, as the expression of political solidarity and the wish to create a unified security policy against terrorism. He stressed that this did not imply a carte blanche for Washington. He said that military action should be discussed first and should focus only those responsible for the terrorist acts, and should by no means create the impression of a war of civilizations. After September 11, Tsochadzopoulos said, no one can guarantee the security of citizens and nations, because no country has an overall policy for dealing with asymmetrical threats. The Defense Strategy Reform will not shift from the basic Greek defense dogma, averting the Turkish threat to Greece and Cyprus, but it heightens the need to deal with asymmetrical threats, such as terrorism, international organized crime, uncontrolled migration, information technology warfare and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Spending program announced